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Cincinnati Reds unhappy with Luke Voit for ‘dirty’ slip into Tyler Stephenson – ‘It looked like a wrestling move’

The Reds are upset with Padres slugger Luke Voit for his home plate collision on Tuesday that left Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Stephenson with a concussion.

“The way his hands hit him, it was filthy as shit,” Reds outfielder Tommy Pham told reporters. “I don’t like it at all. The way [Voit’s] helping hands [Stephenson] in the face it was dirty.

“If Luke wants to fix it, I’m doing just fine. Anything – Muay Thai, whatever. I have a [gym] owner here who will let me use his facility.”

Voit slammed into Stephenson as he tried to score from first on Jurickson Profar’s opening-set brace. As he entered his slide, Voit raised his arms then forcefully brought them back into Stephenson’s head as he landed.

Stephenson held onto the ball for the takedown but was down for several minutes. He was able to walk to the dugout but did not return to play.

“I didn’t have a problem with the slide,” Reds manager David Bell told reporters. “But it’s a helpless feeling when one of your players gets shot in the head and they’re lying there. It’s scary for me.”

The 255-pound Voit said he was trying to avoid Stephenson, but admitted his elbow “smoked his head a bit”.

“I wasn’t trying to get him out or anything,” Voit said. “I guess my elbow kinda smoked his head. Hope he’s okay, no hard feelings. It’s baseball. I wasn’t trying to smear him or anything. I’m just trying to make a game obviously.”

The Reds contested the call, but referees ruled Voit’s slip was clean.

“It didn’t hurt us because we didn’t need to do the challenge,” Bell said. “I thought it might have been an illegal slip. That doesn’t mean Voit did it intentionally.”

“The ball takes him right into Luke,” Padres manager Bob Melvin added. “There’s nowhere to go, and I think Luke was just trying to protect himself by putting his hands up. I think they got it right.”

Stephenson’s teammates, however, disagreed with the managers.

“Watching the replay, I’m not too happy with the slide,” Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer said. “Not too often you see a runner slip and grab someone’s head and slam it to the ground like that. You’re usually trying to reach for the bag. Maybe that’s what he was trying to do. After having watched the replay, it seemed like a wrestling move to Tyler’s head and snapped it.

“I’ve caught before, and it’s a scary game, especially when you have a big guy like Voit coming down. I’ve never really seen anyone’s hands go to a receiver’s head on a slip.”

Stephenson was placed on concussion protocol after the game, meaning he will miss at least seven days. Bell said Stephenson, 25, appeared “to be fine,” but acknowledged the team was concerned about the third-year receiver.

Pham, a former Padre and Voit’s former teammate with the St. Louis Cardinals, reiterated his offer to “settle” the situation with Voit at a local gym.

“I don’t like everything,” Pham said. “They can say whatever they want. Everybody on that side – they know I’m going down. I know a place here, I know an owner who will let me use his gym if we have to sort something out. … This game was dirty.”

The Reds, who have lost eight straight, and Padres will complete their three-game series in San Diego on Wednesday afternoon before meeting next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati.


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